Go WEST young man (and NORTH)

Started by PaulNewman, October 02, 2021, 02:44:40 PM

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SimpleCoach

Quote from: Coach Jeff on December 01, 2023, 10:02:34 AM
Quote from: camosfan on November 30, 2023, 06:27:34 PM
Some content idea, next year do a from the final 4 location!

SC you will have to travel to Las Vegas if you are going to do on site for the Final 4.  I hear the weather is nicer in Las Vegas that time of year.  You and Jackie won't need winter coats.

Now we are talking!

SC.

Gray Fox

Quote from: SimpleCoach on December 01, 2023, 11:06:48 AM
Quote from: Coach Jeff on December 01, 2023, 10:02:34 AM
Quote from: camosfan on November 30, 2023, 06:27:34 PM
Some content idea, next year do a from the final 4 location!

SC you will have to travel to Las Vegas if you are going to do on site for the Final 4.  I hear the weather is nicer in Las Vegas that time of year.  You and Jackie won't need winter coats.

Now we are talking!

SC.
IT can get very cold in Las Vegas.  It is not always summer there.
Fierce When Roused

Kuiper

Quote from: SimpleCoach on November 30, 2023, 06:05:05 PM
Quote from: Kuiper on November 30, 2023, 05:54:19 PM
Just to update on Cal Lu in the women's final
Four:

LCal Lu beats Tufts in PKs to advance to the Finals after being tied 1-1 in 2OT

Wow.  This was a game where Cal Lu looked like they were hanging on for dear life, with three top starters injured during regulation and the players looking tired.  Cal Lu's GK was Uber aggressive to keep them in the game, coming out on all corners and crosses to snuff out plays, but they had almost no offensive chances in the second half and first OT.  Somehow, however, the coach brought in a few different players, motivated them, and they controlled the second OT, owning possession and almost winning with a ball hitting the underside of the cross bar on a great shot.  It was as if they had played possum, lulling Tufts into beautiful passing sequences and runs while they conserved energy for the second OT.
When Avery West went off the game totally changed and Cal Lu did whatever it could to survive.  The second half I thought Tufts would knock in three, but the Cal Lu Keeper and Tufts errors in the final third.... Well OT.

Disappointed in the result.  Wish Cal Lu would have kept the clean sheet since I predicted them winning 1-0.  So much for my influencing.


SC

The story of Cal Lutheran might be depth, which is a very underrated strength for teams in short seasons when you get to the NCAA tournament and start having to play OTs.  In fact, perhaps the most amazing depth piece for Cal Lu was not a player who came off the bench against Tufts to hold down the fort, but one who came off the bench right before the start of the tournament - GK Kelsey Slaugh.  She subbed in for starter Logan Durford in the SCIAC championship game after Durford came out with 17 minutes left and she has started every game in the NCAA tournament, coming up big against Tufts.  Slaugh had only played in 5 games before this tourney run.  That's a pretty big step up for a sophomore GK.

Kuiper

#648
Apologies for the Women's Final cross-post, but there's really no one on the Women's Board and this might be of interest to Region X soccer fans on the men's side too

HALF:  Cal Lutheran 1 - Washington University 0

Cal Lu's Bella Veljacic scores on a fantastic looping shot that beats the GK over the top to the far right corner, hits the corner and then off the GK's back into the goal.  Cal Lu is doing it without Avery West, although Savanna Durr is back. 

UPDATE:  Spoke too soon on Durr, who had to come out because she wasn't able to go after a few minutes.  They moved back a MF to CB and she's been holding down the fort.

UPDATE:

FINAL:  Cal Lutheran 1 - Wash U 0

They hold on amidst injuries and against blue bloods to win the national championship!

Here's a link to video of Cal Lu's winning goal a little less than halfway through the first half.  You won't find a more beautifully placed goal (and hard luck for the Wash U GK on the rebound)

https://x.com/NCAADIII/status/1731001875212722199?s=20



camosfan


jfreddys

Congratulations to Cal Lutheran...fantastic season and run in the tourney.   

Always great to see some Southern California contributions to the division 3 world. 

Plenty of so cal players sprinkled throughout the U.S. but when a local team shows its stuff, always nice.

And one last congratulations to Occidental on its run...probably still smarting it all considering how close they were against Amherst.

Kuiper

United Soccer Coaches came out with its 2023 DIII Men's Soccer Scholar All Americans regional awards.  Only three from the West Region, which I suspect may be because only the SCAC had its act together enough to nominate players.  Still, it's nice to honor these players who competed strongly both on and off the field.

https://unitedsoccercoaches.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/D3-Men-Scholar-All-Region.pdf

D Pieter Blank GR-5 Trinity University (Texas) Business-Mathematics 3.64 Leidschendam, The Netherlands
M Michael Grimm Jr. Southwestern University Business 3.70 Southlake, Texas
F Michael Meese Jr. Trinity University (Texas) Business 3.56 Williamsburg, Va.

Kuiper

Cross-posting this in case someone interested in Region X isn't checking the Coaching Carousel thread.  One additional note is that having experience coaching in Region X is not insignificant, even though Ramirez hasn't been in TX or the SCAC.  It means you know more about the challenges with SoS, regional rankings, and getting out of the area!

University of St. Thomas (TX) has announced it has hired Occidental Men's soccer Assistant Coach Ernesto Ramirez as its new head coach of men's soccer.

https://ustcelts.com/sports/msoc/2023-24/releases/20240220hr0oas

This is a bit of a "if you can't beat them, hire someone from their staff" hire since Oxy beat St. Thomas in NCAA tournament this year.

He'll have his hands full there, especially trying to wrangle a group of talented, but not necessarily disciplined, group of players.  Based on what I have seen of him in youth coaching at the MLS Next/EA level as well as at Oxy, he'll connect with the players (probably better than the last head coach), but needs to take a step from being a player's coach to being a head coach to maximize their potential and minimize the fighting and griping with referees.  He's definitely a very hard worker and he is uber-organized, though, so that's a good start.  His last experience as a head coach at the college level (at DII Salem University in WV soon after he graduated college) was a tough situation at a school where it has been difficult for anyone to succeed.

I also saw the UST women's soccer coach post on Linkedin last month that they were still searching for candidates, so I'm guessing it was a difficult job to fill.  Getting an assistant coach from another western power that was just voted Region X Coaching Staff of the Year was probably about as good an outcome as they could have expected.

Kuiper

Bob Quillman, host of a D# hoops podcast, is reporting that the remaining members of the American Southwest Conference are discussing moving to the Coast-to-Coast Conference for all sports except football:  Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, LeTourneau, and East Texas Baptist (it was already announced that UTD is going DII, and Concordia, McMurry, and Ozarks are going to the SCAC).

QuoteHearing talks are heating up re: UMHB, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, ETBU, and LeTourneau joining the Coast-to-Coast conference. This would be for all sports except football. Football would be played via local scheduling alliances.

Coast-to-Coast conference will be like a set of pods during the regular season, with a pod in the Mid-Atlantic playing each other (e.g., Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, Salisbury), one in Wisconsin (Platteville and Whitewater) one in Texas, and then UC Santa Cruz all by its lonesome effectively playing as an affiliate of the SCIAC.  The conference tournament could be pretty competitive.  The Texas teams will pick up some serious strength-of-schedule playing teams from the SCAC, teams from the SAA (where Trinity and Southwestern are going), and then the teams from all over the country in the C2C tournament.  That's a heck of a lot of cross-pollination.

The demise of the ASC would also presumably mean one less automatic bid and one more Pool C bid available.  That would also have implications for Region X's typical pod in the tournament.  If only the three conference champions qualified, one team from another region would have to play in Region X's pod, which could be a pretty significant disadvantage depending upon where the pod is held and the length of travel.  On the other hand, it might put the thumb on the scale for a Region X Pool C bid to complete the pod and avoid the significant travel burden.

Ron Boerger

Bob reported this some time back - I have seen pushback (don't remember exactly where) from some people with excellent ASC contacts saying they had not heard this.  The excellent reporter from Texas Football/Basketball who covers non-D1 sports, Cory Hogue, has also not reported anything to date. 

If it does happen, that's going to be a *lot* of games to try and schedule in almost all sports to replace the current ASC in-conference schedules, and it's doubtful that there are enough open games (and/or desire) amongst the non-ASC(/C2C) schools in Texas to pick up all of the slack.  I don't see the bulk of the SAA (excluding Trinity/Southwestern) being interested in a lot of this.  I could see the Texas C2C pod playing a double round-robin to reduce the stress of having to put that many games together each season. 

It also doesn't address the elephant in the room for four of the five schools, which is what to do with their football programs.  Unless the program at Schreiner fails to ignite (they finally opened a coaching search with a planned JV season starting in 2025) the SCAC has zero interest, and you won't find any conference wanting to fly to Texas twice a year to face UMHB/HSU. 

Kuiper

Quote from: Ron Boerger on February 21, 2024, 03:16:01 PMBob reported this some time back - I have seen pushback (don't remember exactly where) from some people with excellent ASC contacts saying they had not heard this.  The excellent reporter from Texas Football/Basketball who covers non-D1 sports, Cory Hogue, has also not reported anything to date. 

If it does happen, that's going to be a *lot* of games to try and schedule in almost all sports to replace the current ASC in-conference schedules, and it's doubtful that there are enough open games (and/or desire) amongst the non-ASC(/C2C) schools in Texas to pick up all of the slack.  I don't see the bulk of the SAA (excluding Trinity/Southwestern) being interested in a lot of this.  I could see the Texas C2C pod playing a double round-robin to reduce the stress of having to put that many games together each season. 

It also doesn't address the elephant in the room for four of the five schools, which is what to do with their football programs.  Unless the program at Schreiner fails to ignite (they finally opened a coaching search with a planned JV season starting in 2025) the SCAC has zero interest, and you won't find any conference wanting to fly to Texas twice a year to face UMHB/HSU. 

Ron - are there other options to get the 5 remaining ASC teams full schedules in all sports (presumably other than football) while staying in D3?  My assumption is that C2C would be a temporary solution to bridge the 1 team gap so they wouldn't go without an AQ opportunity.  So, I assume it wouldn't prevent them from pursuing those other options.  I just don't know if there are other nearby schools that are a good fit for the ASC long term.

Ron Boerger

#656
They're really stuck between a rock and a hard place.  You would think by now that if the SCAC wanted them they'd have already done a deal (which would probably encompass having to go to two divisions like they did pre-SAA split).  Maybe something gets announced towards the end of the school year, but what from I hear it's highly unlikely.  One consideration is that you already have half the old ASC there who left for whatever reason and bringing the whole gang back together (less D2 defections) would probably make for some very unhappy members.  Votes must be unanimous to allow new members; who knows, maybe one or more of the ASC Five already tried.  SCAC policy sez if you are a full member and you have football (or any other conference-sponsored sport) you must play it in the SCAC.  Pretty sure that's common to most conferences, making the "come on along for everything but football" even harder.

So who else is "around" that plays football?
- the SAA.  Non-starter, I can't believe they took Trinity and Southwestern which was probably partially in response to the financial situation at Birmingham-Southern and other members seeing declining enrollment.
- the SCIAC.  Sure, everyone wants to fly halfway across the country.  Maybe you do two divisions and then a championship at the end between the two but with only five schools left in the ASC it would be pretty unbalanced in most sports.
- the USAS.  Like the SCIAC only with poorer schools. 
- the UMAC.  They're down to six football schools but again you have the travel and unbalanced division situation in other sports.

The elephant in the room applies here.  None of these weaker football conferences wants to lose their Pool A bid for the foreseeable future - they have to see some reward for taking on these five teams.  Unless it's a conference survival issue, it's a hard sell.

Kuiper

Occidental has a great article in its alumni magazine about the Oxy Men's soccer team's run in the NCAA tournament this year and how it built it's program up in recent years.

https://www.oxy.edu/magazine/issues/winter-2024/kicking-and-dreaming

A few excerpts that I found interesting:

1.  Oxy coach Rod Lafaurie credits Trinity coach Paul McGinlay for helping him turn the program around
QuoteThe victory over Trinity "felt like a full-circle moment," he adds—the culmination of a 10-year process that began with a conversation with Trinity coach Paul McGinlay following a 2013 campaign in which the Tigers went 3-16. "I made phone calls to a few coaches across the country who had successful Division III programs," Lafaurie recalls. "Paul was one of two coaches who got back to me. I asked him, 'Just how did you create this program at Trinity?'" McGinlay walked him through his process in terms of creating a culture, how to recruit, and so on.

That speaks really highly of McGinlay, who is a legendary coach at Trinity.  Lafaurie started at Oxy in 2010 as a young coach with few mentors to turn to in the D3 community (he played D1 at CSUN and is one of the still small number of minority head coaches out there in D3 and likely the only Afro-Dominican).

2.  Oxy's attendance is phenomenal and its "SuperFans" group is led by a rocket scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA

QuoteOccidental has led the SCIAC in attendance for men's soccer games in recent seasons "by far," Lafaurie says, "and I wouldn't be surprised if we were in the top 25 in all divisions of NCAA soccer." For its 2022 SCIAC Tournament semifinal vs. Pomona, 3,689 spectators were on hand at Jack Kemp Stadium—and a crowd of 4,200 was recorded for the 2023 championship game with Redlands.

QuoteIt takes a lot to stand out in a crowd of 4,200 at Jack Kemp Stadium, but Art Chmielewski—resplendent in his orange tuxedo and top hat and blowing into a vuvuzela like it's the 2014 World Cup—proves the exception to the rule. A fixture at every Oxy men's soccer game for the last three years, Art is the father of both Marcus and his older brother Lucas Chmielewski '21, a Second Team All-SCIAC pick in men's tennis and Oxy's top singles player for two and a half seasons.

A veteran of 15 space missions over nearly 44 years at JPL, Art has worked with 11 student interns from Oxy. "I've had students not only in engineering and computer science but also psychology and economics," he says. "They were all fabulous people and that made me also try to contribute something to the College."

In tracing his evolution from supportive parent into leader of the superfans, Art cites three key factors that came together: "I work for NASA—I'm expected to think these things through." Having played soccer at the University of Michigan, "I always wanted my parents to come to my game. I was MVP one year. And my stepfather and my mom never came. So, I said to myself, 'Well, if Marcus plays, I'm going to show him the support.' That was one motivation."

The second was that he read a Ph.D. thesis that examined more than 3,000 baseball, basketball, and soccer games in an effort to figure out why the home team wins 60 percent of the time. "To make a long story short, the outcome of this Ph.D. thesis was that it's because of the fans," Art explains. "The fans have an impact on the players who are more energized, and perhaps unconsciously on the referees who make better calls for the home team. So, here was an opportunity to truly contribute to the team's success.

"The third factor was when I went to some soccer games, I'd see these people who are mainly watching their kids nervously. And I thought: What if we turned this energy into happy, fun energy? And that was what I came up with—the vuvuzelas, the trumpets, the cowbells, the drums, waving the flags. Now everybody was happier. It was an event; it was a happening."

Incidentally, Art's son Marcus turned down an opportunity to be on the soccer team at D1 University of Washington to go to Oxy, so that was a pretty big endorsement of staying close to home and getting to play a lot.

3.  Oxy's fundraising for men's soccer is phenomenal and it uses some of that $ to help attract teams to play them in LA as well as to travel all over to recruit

QuoteMen's soccer has benefited from the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends on Day For Oxy since its inception in 2020, raising $47,000 from 67 donors last year. "That allows us to have more equipment for training, buy the new goals on the field, and pay for pregame dinners and things like that. It even means we can buy brand-new soccer balls," Lafaurie says. "All those little things add up."

QuoteFor the 2024 season, Lafaurie has scheduled Willamette, UC Santa Cruz, and Swarthmore so far. "The biggest benefit of our preseason, nonconference schedule this year was that it was hard, and we were able to come through it. That prepared us for the whole season. So, we're going to try to do it again."

Over the last several years, Lafaurie has tried to lure more NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents from outside the region (such as Texas Lutheran and Marymount University of Virginia this season) to Oxy by offering to help out with their travel expenses. "In the past, we would travel to other places to play these teams, because you need to see top-level opponents from different parts of the country," he says.

Off the field, Lafaurie traveled to Brazil and Singapore on recruiting trips in the last 12 months, and in early December he visited Korea to scout a gathering of international school players. "The talent level at these events is really high," he says. "All these players speak English already, and they want to go to school in America." Upon returning from Korea, he attended the MLS NEXT Fest Tournament in Phoenix, a six-day event that showcases some of the top high school players in the United States.

My guess is that few fans of teams on the east coast (or even some coaches) ever thought about the possibility that teams on the west coast have to actually pay good opponents to come west and play them out there (or at least share expenses) so they can help their strength of schedule numbers and play teams with different playing styles.  I don't know that this happens the other way when west coast teams travel to the east coast since east coast teams can find unique opponents close by.


Kuiper

Pomona-Pitzer put its Spring scrimmages on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/p/C356WqoyODM/
https://www.instagram.com/p/C356EZ3SsHL/

As is their custom, they are taking advantage of the single game day to have two games (presumably to get everybody on their roster playing time during the single game day).  Both games are at home on their grass field.

Sunday March 3

11 am v. Santa Monica College (JC)

3:00 pm v. Cal State San Marcos (D2)

smoova

Quote from: Kuiper on Yesterday at 04:18:50 PMPomona-Pitzer put its Spring scrimmages on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/p/C356WqoyODM/
https://www.instagram.com/p/C356EZ3SsHL/

As is their custom, they are taking advantage of the single game day to have two games (presumably to get everybody on their roster playing time during the single game day).  Both games are at home on their grass field.

Sunday March 3

11 am v. Santa Monica College (JC)

3:00 pm v. Cal State San Marcos (D2)

Looks like Ditta has stepped away from the program. Any idea if Swartz is back from sabbatical?